Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mystery bar number 46

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Before we get started, is anyone surprised that this happened at Hummingbird? I always thought that Mini bar was the place that's always full of drunk middle-aged estate agents, but the 'bird attracts a similar demographic.

I doubt that you'd find many of them at last week's mystery bar, expect when things get very late and desperate. Maximus was the first to guess the place, but Deep Red was the first to mention its actual name: Breakers pool hall in Manners St. Confusingly, most of the signs outside still call it The White Room, but the sandwich board in Luke's Lane has the new name, and the licensing documents confirm it. Some people thought it might be a karaoke bar, and while I couldn't see any sign of it in the bar itself, it seems to be owned by the same people who own the Korean karaoke lounge on the 5th floor. All of which sits rather oddly with the obligatory redneck American feel of a pool hall.

Mystery bar #46 - patrons and lovely plaster wallMoving on, today's mystery bar might seem more congenial to white middle-class punters of a certain age, though it's unlikely to get quite as full of boozy slappers (and I use the term literally) as Hummingbird. It's much more sedate than that, but it seems like it might have been kicking off a messy evening for a few people, judging by a few conversations that I overheard.

The decor might have reminded them of their youth, as it looks like it hasn't had a makeover since before the fresh-faced staff were conceived. With diagonal honey-toned wooden panelling, faux-Med textured plaster, brown leather bar, cheap fabric tub chairs and even a brass-and-cane ceiling fan, it's straight out of the seventies. Based on New Zealand's traditionally sluggish uptake of architectural trends, though, that probably means it was designed in the mid eighties.

Given that, it was surprising to see a cocktail list featuring contemporary recipes, heavy on the manuka honey 42 Below. The racks of spirits behind the bar looked fairly impressive at first, but the only gin they had was Gordons, with predictably depressing Martini results despite the bartender's best efforts. It doesn't make the most of its location, since it gives up the sun and views to the attached restaurant, which may be excellent for all I know, but the fact that it's mis-spelled as a "restautant" on the expensively embossed menu cover doesn't exactly raise one's expectations.

Mystery bar #46 - the bar


At 3:34 pm, October 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's that place on Tory (I think?) St. Up some stairs. Chow? (I cheated, and looked on zoomin, so I actually have no recollection of the name).

At 4:28 pm, October 13, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Jo's right. Chow does a consciously retro look, whereas this place is just dated.

At 5:04 pm, October 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not somewhere in Edward St is it?

At 2:05 pm, October 19, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

No, not Edward St. Would it surprise you to know that it's a hotel bar?

At 5:02 pm, October 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

surely it is not the west plaza on Wakefield St????

At 12:36 pm, October 23, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

It does look very similar to the West Plaza, but as Jo pointed out, I've already suffered through that place's bar, so it's not there. It's not the Duxton either: that place is actually worth going to, as it makes decent Martinis and serves excellent food (one of Wellington's best-kept dining secrets, IMO).

This mystery bar is slightly better set up as a cocktail bar than Gibbons is, but it does have a few things in common.

At 9:09 pm, October 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its Bohdans Cocktail bar at the bay plaza - wohoo! i'll have to actually go there, use their tunnel often - i'm only up to about 80 or 90 on your list (well the tag team of my flatmate and I) - you can compare the picture from their website www.bayplaza.co.nz


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